Beyond the Numbers - Not Just About Counting CostsBy Brian Hendry Managers need to look beyond the numbers as you might be reducing costs but not be providing for the business in the way it needs to be supported.
There is a general feeling in the IT industry that measuring effectiveness is simply a matter of calculating the money involved. Managers routinely ask: "How can we save hardware costs?" "Are we able to cut software license fees?" "Are we performing in such a way that we are lowering our overall expenditure?"
Of course, you still need to measure costs. An IT Service Management solution allows you to do this accurately. The right tool will enable you to calculate expenditures accurately, not just for hardware and software but will include manpower statistics.
It will report which staff is doing the work and how long it is taking them to solve particular problems. Those work study experts who used to go around offices with clipboards are now a distant memory for most organizations, replaced by computing tools at the service of the computing industry itself.
One should also measure IT effectiveness not solely from the perspective of the cash being spent on equipment and resources but by providing good customer service.
It may well be that by cutting costs you are providing a worse service or not satisfying the customer's requirements. The service which IT delivers to the business is not always the main thrust of IT effectiveness and efficiency - but it should be.
Even if you do get a handle on your costs, this still does not mean you are efficient or effective. The business needs to know it is getting what it wants when it needs it, in a costly manner. An item might be more expensive but more cost-effective.
One hears a lot in the industry these days about Return on Investment but that again tends to be an analysis of cold, hard numbers. ROI doesn't always cover issues like: Is the customer happier? Is he pleased with our service? Are we giving him what he wants when he needs it?
This means asking the customer, perhaps by way of formal focus groups, research surveys or questionnaires. If you don't ask the question you will not get the answer.